"Can I Interest You in Cumming?"

Puckish actor jerks off on celebrity perfumes

Alan Cumming seemed unconcerned. His appearance at Sephora in Union Square last Friday night, for his new cologne, Cumming the Fragrance, was not drawing in the crowds, even though the actor had been shilling it on talk shows for months. Nevertheless, the perennially dapper actor was still festooned for the occasion, clad in a fearless outfit only his svelte self could pull off: skintight black tank, gray kilt, and trekking boots he clomped around in. The result was weirdly adorable yet alluring, like some lascivious sex sprite.

"It was a bit of a stoner idea," he said, when we asked why he wanted to do a perfume. But we've heard you have a nose, Alan. "Yes, I have quite the nose," he smirked and then mimed like he was snorting a line. But there's a bit more to it than that. As the craze for celeb perfume lines explodes out of control, what better way to parody such egotism than with a lesser god. And dealing a blow to celebrity idolatry can take no better form than when your last name is Cumming. "When all these celebrity fragrances were announced," said fragrance creative director Jason Schell, "I said to him, 'It would just be kind of genius to do something called Cumming the Fragrance, because it's your last name, number one, and number two, 'cause it just kind of says something about the whole industry all together. Let's just have a pisser out of it." And so they did, down to the promo photos, which play off of well-known perfume advertisements: Behold Alan Cumming, channeling Yves St. Laurent in his banned-in-the-U.S. cologne photo-wearing nothing but a pair of thick-rimmed frames. Check out Alan Cumming aping Sophie Dahl's scandalous Opium campaign-butt-nekkid yet dreamy-eyed, massaging an elegant nipple.

The whole operation boasts ample industry cred, courtesy of Christopher Brosius, perfume guru and founder of Demeter Fragrances and CB I Hate Perfume. The man responsible for scents like "Dirt" and "Grass," Brosius created Cumming with uncommon top notes of whiskey and bergamot, and core notes of cigar, Douglas Fir, and rubber. If all goes well, the franchise will be a skankily good cumathon: There's Cumming All Over, the body lotion; Cumming in a Bar, the soap; Cumming Together, the sex lube; and Cumming in the Air, the candle.

Cumming in repose
photo: Courtesy of Cumming the Fragrance
Cumming in repose

But for the actor, it seems, even mild success will do. As Cumming shared with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, "My favorite thing I'm hoping will happen in my life is that I'll come off a plane somewhere and a lady [promoting perfume] will come up to me and go, 'Can I interest you in Cumming?' "

For once, an offer you can't refuse.

 
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